India and Israel: A Good Partnership

In the last few decades, both countries have exchanged a lot in different sectors and the trust between us has strengthened. After Shri Narendra Modi came to power there was a high expectation about this partnership and now we can see that everything is going in a right direction.

Let’s take a look at some recent developments in technology and innovation…

As of 2015, the two nations are negotiating an extensive bilateral free trade agreement, focusing on areas such as defense sector, information technology, biotechnology and agriculture.

In the month of April, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited Israel to explore possibilities of collaboration in various fields including agriculture and crisis management. He has participated in Agrotech Israel 2015, the 19th International Agricultural Technology Exhibition, during this visit he has invited Israeli delegation to Yavatmal and Osmanabad districts to prepare an action plan that can help in addressing the farmers’ suicides. Other states like Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Mizoram have also participated in this. India and Israel have a bilateral agreement for cooperation in agriculture. India has benefited from Israeli expertise and technologies in horticulture mechanization, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro- irrigation and post-harvest management, particularly in Haryana and Maharashtra. Israeli drip irrigation technologies and products are widely used in India. Some Israeli companies and experts are providing expertise to manage and improve dairy farming in India through their expertise in the high milk production of milk animals in hot climatic conditions and genetic engineering.

Last year the government of India has asked Israel to take advantage of theinvestment-friendly policies of the modi government and invest in strategic sectors such as Defense. During his visit, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has invited the Israeli defense sector to manufacture in India as part of ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Israeli companies have invested in India in energy, renewable energy, telecom, real estate, water technologies, and are focusing on setting up R&D centers or production units in India.

Some significant investments from India in Israel include the acquisition of Israeli drip-irrigation company Naandan by Jain Irrigation, Sun Pharma’s 66% stake in Taro Pharmaceuticals, Triveni Engineering Industries investment in Israeli Aqwise Company, and others. A consortium of India’s Cargo Motors Pvt. Ltd and Israel Ports Company won a US$ 700 million contract bid to build a deep water port at Nargol in Gujarat. In 2009, Israeli companies were acquired by India’s telecom companies Tejas Networks and Connectiva Systems.

India-Israel cooperation in Science and Technology has a good track record. There is joint research by Science and Technology institutions under S&T Cooperation Agreement signed in 1993. Secondly, under an MOU on Industrial Research and Development Initiative signed in 2005, a joint industrial R&D fund i4RD has been set up to promote bilateral industrial R&D and specific projects. Under i4RD mechanisms, joint projects by the industry are funded, involving at least one Indian and one Israeli company. On May 7, 2013 Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology and the Karnataka Science and Technology Promotion Society has signed a MoU with Israel’s MATIMOP, the Israeli Industry Center for R&D, for industrial R&D partnership.

In 2013, Tata Industries and Ramot (the Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer company) have entered into an MoU to fund and generate commercialization-ready technologies in a wide range of fields, including engineering, exact sciences, environment and clean technology, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Tata Industries is the lead investor in Ramot’s US$ 20 million Technology Innovation Momentum Fund.

India was the second-biggest defense importer in 2014. Our 2015 defense budget is more than $40 billion and the current government is trying to change India’s image of defense importer to defense exporter as all defense deals are promoting Make In India concept. Our partnership in the defense sector with Israel has a good past and our strategic understanding has pushed Israel to participate in defense sector’s Make in India policy.

DRDO has also decided to promote start-up ventures in the Defense Sector. The proposed DRDO fund encourages start-ups to proactively come up with solutions and innovations in the defense field.

Mukesh Ambani is also set to invest in Israeli startup companies, a number of representatives of Israeli startups and technology companies visited India in the last week of April to participate in a conference organized by Reliance Industries. Israeli companies that participated in the conference were SimilarWeb, Celltick, Winapp, Perion Network Ltd. and Outbrain Inc. etc. In the month of February, Infosys had bought the Israeli automation-technology startup Panaya in a $200 million deal.

Here is a list of some growing Israeli startups:

ROOJOOM: Founded in 2013, Roojoom is an online marketing intelligence platform that increases conversion and engagement through personal Content Journeys across the customer life-cycle.

TOMIGO: Founded by twin brothers Tal and Nimrod Moran in 2011, Tomigo is a social recruiting platform that helps employers to recruit effectively by harnessing the power of their existing employees’ social networks.

SimilarWeb: founded in March 2009 by Or Offer, SimilarWeb provides services in web analytics, data mining and business intelligence for international corporations. Through its main platform called SimilarWeb, it uses big data technologies to collect, measure, analyze and provide user engagement statistics for websites and mobile apps.

YALLO: Founded in 2012, Yallo wants to reinvent the phone call. Yallo’s app automatically reconnects dropped calls, saves a call or shares it. Users can summon a group call with a single click or even interrupt a call when a priority caller needs you.

SAFERVPN: Founded in 2013 by Amit Bareket and Sagi Gidali provides secure, private and uncensored internet to anyone, anywhere. The company’s software allows users to circumvent local restrictions and access websites, while simultaneously allowing users to keep their personal information safe and encrypted for anonymous browsing.

WEBYDO: Founded in 2012, it’s a code-free web design platform for freelance web designers and agencies.

Mapme: Founded by Ben Lang and his father Philippe, Mapme is a self-service platform for creating crowdsourced community maps. The platform allows anyone to create a global community map.

SwarmBuild: SwarmBuild is a manufacturing marketplace that connects anyone with a design idea with the engineers and manufacturers they need to turn their ideas and designs into products. Essentially the company empowers engineers to sell their design ideas and turn the ideas into fruition by connecting the engineer with a relevant manufacturer.

Viggo TV: Viggo has developed a Smart TV solution for hotels that source the crowd for reliable real-time information about the local community to create a better experience for the busy business traveler.

VoxDox: Based in northern Israel, Voxdox is a text-to-speech app developed to help students with dyslexia, alexia or other learning disabilities.

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